Hi Everyone, John here
Ploughing through the lessons(challenges) reasonably unscathed; ok, a little clumsy here and there, but on the whole ok; love the little “surprises” that are thrown in to make one think etc. I just feel that the hard part is to come…LISTENING!!.As far as I’m concerned, listening to and understanding what someone says to me in Spanish is a whole different ball game to speaking Spanish. Don’t get me wrong; when I translate and say the Spanish, and then here the speakers say exactly the same it’s immensely satisfying, BUT if I heard the Spanish just “out of the blue” with no pre-knowledge of the English???
Please tell me that this is what most people go through and that eventually this skill will improve, OR will I forever remain a dummy at “hearing” the language.
Listening and understanding is tough - it’s like breaking a code in realtime, and the code is more complicated than anything they did at Bletchley Park…
But I’m going to be uploading our new listening exercises today!
You’ll be able to find them on the lesson download page for Sessions 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 by this evening - and from Session 10 onwards, they are at double speed, which is going to do some enormously helpful things to your brain’s ability to decode ordinary speech
You’ll be surprised how fast the brain adapts (it’s a very consistent, replicable neurological phenomenon) and what a difference it makes to your ability to understand people speaking Spanish to you (once your range of vocab is enough to give you a foothold!)…
Listening to a language that is not your own and trying to understand what is said is always the most difficult aspect. I know Dutch speakers who say that English speakers talk very quickly; I know Spanish speakers who complain about the speed of English speakers… The thing is, we tend to try to hear and understand each word and that slows the listening process down. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Just keep on listening. If you want to hear Spanish spoken really quickly, check out the final round of the Spanish quiz programme, Pasapalabra (the Rosco Final. When I first started learning Spanish, this was just a jumble of noise; now I can follow it, but it took several years to be able to do so. Follow the news on Spanish TV. I found this easier than radio, as there are visual prompts to help with the understanding. Try Canal 24 horas.
Another thing I’ve always found helpful is watching movies…When I was learning French this was a strategy that I used, and I found it very helpful for my listening and comprehension skills. At first I would watch in French with English subtitles, then as I got more confident I would change the subtitles to French. Seeing things written as they were spoken helped to ease the transition.